Whether you are recruiting for a Business Risk Director, a risk analyst or a team leader with a significant focus on risk management, it’s important to ask the right risk management interview questions to find the best candidate.
Here are 15 risk management interview questions that you can use for sourcing the perfect candidate for your risk roles. And if you are interviewing for a risk management role, use these question prompts as a way to get ready for your meeting with the hiring manager!
- Tell me about your experience preparing and presenting risk assessments and reports.
Being able to communicate in writing is a fundamental skill for anyone in a role that involves risk management. This question will help you understand how they go about preparing risk documentation.
- How do you convince people to take risk management more seriously? Can you share an example of where you have done so?
While risk management may be a mature discipline in some areas of the business, it’s possible not everyone is on board just yet. Your new hire needs to be able to convince others of the benefits of taking active steps to manage risk without it seeming like simply another admin job for managers.
- Can you tell me about a time when your attention to detail helped solve a problem or address an issue?
Many risk management roles require attention to detail and the ability to follow through (and follow up) on actions. If the candidate struggles to provide an answer here, they might not have the focus you need in the role.
- How do you stay current on the latest developments and trends in risk management?
Risk management is an evolving practice, and this interview question will help you uncover more about the candidate’s commitment to ongoing professional development.
- Tell me about a time when you had to source information from multiple people or locations. How did you make a determination about what information was relevant?
People in risk management roles need to be able to work with others from all over the business, and synthesize information to extract what’s truly relevant. It’s a skill to be able to sift through reams of data and pull out the parts that are required for a decision.
- Tell me about the risk process you use in your current/previous role. What have you learned and how would you improve the process?
You can continue the questioning by asking the candidate to share examples of where they have been involved in process improvement and what difference their changes made.
- Have you ever had to work with someone whose behavior was considered difficult? How did you approach the situation, and what was the outcome?
Risk managers have to work with a range of subject matter experts for guidance on specialist areas such as health and safety or environmental risk. They have to be able to work successfully with people at all levels in the organization, and build professional relationships with people across many departments. This question will tell you about their interpersonal skills.
- Can you share an example of a situation you have been in where you have had to recommend implementing contingency plans or risk management measures that you knew would be unpopular? How did you go about doing that?
The development of countermeasures is part of the risk role, but not all countermeasures and risk management actions are going to be universally welcomed! This question will help you understand more about how the candidate communicates difficult news and how likely they will be to stand their ground when challenged.
- How do you think risk management contributes to the organization? What’s its purpose?
This is a good question for those who will be in roles where they need to be spreading the word about the benefits of enterprise risk management to the wider business. If they can’t explain the contribution and purpose to you, how will they be able to adequately explain it to business leaders? Ask this question if your candidate will be involved in setting up an enterprise risk management function, so you can be sure their views align with your expectations of the role.
- How do you determine the risk profile of a project, department, team or company?
Tailor this question to the role. You’re looking for answers that speak to being able to consolidate and aggregate risk across an area.
- What experience do you have with risk modelling?
If you are expecting the candidate to get involved with technical risk modelling – whether that is creating models, interpreting results or presenting the outcomes to senior business leaders – this is your chance to probe their experience.
- Give me an example of a time where you had to make a decision alone. What was the outcome?
Many jobs involve collaboration and input from the team, but there will be cases where the risk manager needs to make a decision alone. You’re looking for someone who can be decisive and quick thinking, if the situation requires it.
- Describe a time when you had to act quickly to stop a situation from escalating. What did you do?
You could get a lot of different responses to this question. A manager may describe a situation with a team member that was escalating, or they could share a task-based example. You’re looking for clarity around how they identified the situation was a problem and what steps they took to quickly contain the issue.
- Tell me about a recent experience where you were under pressure. How did you manage the stress you were under to ensure an effective result?
The candidate could choose an experience from their personal or professional life in response to this question, and it doesn’t matter either way. What you are looking for as a hiring manager is their ability to use strategies to manage personal pressure and reach out to support networks if they need to. Many management roles are stressful, and having someone who is self-aware enough to recognize stress in themselves and others will be beneficial to the team.
Finally, if you’re interviewing for a senior role (or feeling like you want to challenge the candidate even further):
- What do you think are the top risks affecting our business/industry at the moment? What will they be in five years?
Hopefully these risk management interview questions will give you a sense of how forward-thinking candidates are, and how much research they have done about your business before interview. It would be an appropriate question for a top-level job, but it’s probably a bit challenging for someone coming to an interview as a risk analyst. However, there’s no harm in asking! Their answer might surprise you, and you’ll always learn more about the candidate.
Remember to always give the candidate time to ask their questions of you at the end of the interview. Many people find interviews stressful – both hiring managers and candidates – so try to relax and enjoy it as much as you can. This is a conversation with a potential colleague, for both of you, and you’ll make a better impression by being welcoming, open and friendly, while asking and answering questions.